When you hear about infertility what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Of course, a married couple. I mean you hardly see a single person complaining of infertility. People married for quite a number of years, and if you are Nigerian, few mother-in-law dramas because after the loud and big wedding the next thing is a baby bump and yes spending a reasonable amount of time in prayer houses. These are the starter packs for infertility.
I also noticed most times the woman is always at the receiving end. Everybody automatically assumes she’s the one with the problem which is false because the problem can be from the husband too.
Infertility can affect one or both partners. In general:
- In about one-third of cases, there is an issue with the male.
- About one-third of cases, there is an issue with the female.
- The remaining cases, there are issues with both the male and female or no cause can be identified.
Okay, what’s infertility?
Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant (conceive) after one year (or longer) of regular unprotected sex.
So the two major factors there are “after one year” and “regular unprotected sex” without these two it can’t be labeled as infertility.
Pregnancy is the result of a process that has many steps.
To get pregnant
- A woman’s body must release an egg from one of her ovaries (ovulation).
- A man’s sperm must join with the egg along the way (fertilize).
- The fertilized egg must go through a fallopian tube toward the uterus (womb).
- The fertilized egg must attach to the inner walls of the uterus (implantation).
Infertility may result from a problem with any or several of these steps.
There are various causes of infertility varying from the male to female.
What causes infertility in a male?
1). Abnormal sperm production or function due to undescended testicles, genetic defects, health problems such as diabetes or infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, mumps or HIV.
2). Problems with the delivery of sperm due to sexual problems, such as premature ejaculation; certain genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis; structural problems, such as a blockage in the testicle; or damage or injury to the reproductive organs.
3). Overexposure to certain environmental factors, such as pesticides and other chemicals, and radiation. Cigarette smoking, alcohol, marijuana or taking certain medications, such as select antibiotics, antihypertensives, anabolic steroids.
4). Damage related to cancer and its treatment, including radiation or chemotherapy. Treatment for cancer can impair sperm production, sometimes severely.
What causes infertility in a female?
1). Ovulation disorders, which affect the release of eggs from the ovaries. These include hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome and anovulation.
2). Uterine or cervical abnormalities, including abnormalities with the opening of the cervix, polyps in the uterus or the shape of the uterus.
3). Fallopian tube damage or blockage, often caused by inflammation of the fallopian tube (salpingitis).
4). Endometriosis, which occurs when endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus, may affect the function of the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes.
5). Primary ovarian insufficiency (early menopause), when the ovaries stop working and menstruation ends before age 40.
6). Pelvic adhesions, bands of scar tissue that bind organs after pelvic infection, appendicitis, or abdominal or pelvic surgery.
7). Cancer and its treatment. Certain cancers — particularly female reproductive cancers — often severely impair female fertility. Both radiation and chemotherapy may affect fertility.
8). Medical conditions associated with delayed puberty or the absence of menstruation (amenorrhea), such as celiac disease, poorly controlled diabetes and some autoimmune diseases such as lupus, can affect a woman’s fertility.
Risk factors for Infertility
Age, overweight, underweight, Tobacco use, Alcohol use, Exercise issues
Can infertility be prevented? Well some infertility is not preventable but several strategies can increase chances of getting pregnant like:
Have regular intercourse several times around the time of ovulation for the highest pregnancy rate. Having intercourse beginning at least 5 days before and until a day after ovulation improves your chances of getting pregnant. Ovulation usually occurs at the middle of the cycle, halfway between menstrual periods, for most women with menstrual cycles about 28 days apart.
Treatment of Infertility
After trying so many means it’s best to go and see your doctor.
Infertility can be treated with medicine, surgery, intrauterine insemination, or assisted reproductive technology.
Often, medication and intrauterine insemination are used at the same time. Doctors recommend specific treatments for infertility on the basis of
- Factors contributing to infertility.
- Duration of infertility.
- Age of the female.
- Couple’s treatment preference after counseling about success rates, risks, and benefits of each treatment option.
To anybody who struggling with infertility don’t be tired, things come when you least expect it and you will experience the joy of motherhood soon.